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American Detective Fiction    April 1841-July 1891

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  Published in
Fond du Lac [WI], September 12, 1850
Wisconsin Argus, October 22, 1850

This story was originally published as “Recollections of a Police-Officer: The Pursuit” in Chambers' Edinbugh Journal on July 13, 1850.

This story was later published in the collection Recollections of a Police-Officer by William Russell, under the pseudonym Thomas Waters (London: J.& C. Brown & Co., 1856).

Prior to the British publication of this volume, a pirated collection of the stories--also titled Recollections of a Police-Officer--was published in America (New York: Cornish and Lamport, 1852).

    "The Pursuit," continued from p. 1

smartly at times over the boat, and the men pulled their on-wester caps well over their eyes, to shield them from the blinding spray. We were speedily on board, and the captain, although much annoyed at the delay, paraded his motley crew before us, but to my extreme surprise, our bird was not amongst them!

Every possible and impossible hiding place was thoroughly but vainly searched—and we were at length compelled to a reluctant admission that the gentleman we were in quest of had not yet honored the captain of the Columbia with his patronage.

We sullenly returned into the boat, and the moment we did so, the anchor, which was already atrip, was brought home;—the ship’s bows fell rapidly off; her crowded canvas dilated and swelled in the spanking breeze, and she sprang swiftly off upon her course. It was a pretty and somewhat exciting spectacle; and I and my companions continued to watch the smartly handled vessel with much interest, till a point of land hid her from our view. We then turned our faces towards Plymouth, from

    which I was surprised to find, we were apparently as distant as ever. “The tide, let alone the wind, is dead against us!” growled the master of the boat, who was now pulling the near oar, in reply to one of the Plymouth officers. This man had sneered on going out. A quick suspicion flashed across me. “Where is the other boatman who came out with us?” I sharply demanded. The old seaman, instead of replying, turned himself half around towards the weatherbow oar, exclaiming, “Easy there, Billy—easy, let her nose lay a little closer to the wind!” This, I readily saw, was done to conceal a momentary confusion, arising from the suddenness of my question—a very slight one by the by, for the fellow was an old man-of-war’s man, with a face hardened and bronzed by service, weather, grog, and tobacco smoke. I repeated the question in a more peremptory tone. The veteran first deliberately squirted a mouthful of tobacco juice over the side, and then with an expression of his cast-iron phiz, which it is impossible by words to convey a distinct idea of, so compounded it was of a diabolical squint, lamb-like simplicity, and impudent cunning, replied—“That was a

Continued on p. 3

   


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